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Ohio’s Governor Said Primary Polls Will Be Closed Tuesday Because Of The Coronavirus

The move late the night before the presidential primary comes after hours of confusion.

Posted on March 16, 2020, at 10:31 p.m. ET

Tony Dejak / AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gives an update on the state's preparedness efforts in Cleveland, Feb. 27.

Ohio will close its polls for Tuesday’s presidential primary, citing a health emergency due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision came late Monday, after hours of confusion and after a judge ruled against a lawsuit by private citizens endorsed by Gov. Mike DeWine to postpone the primary until June 2.

DeWine had said earlier Monday that state officials could not unilaterally change the date of a primary and recommended extending absentee voting until the June makeup date.

"During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at a unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus,” DeWine said in a statement late Monday night. “As such, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State Frank LaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

Polls were due to open in Ohio at 6:30 on Tuesday morning.

Online court records in Franklin County, Ohio, where Monday’s lawsuit was filed, showed an appeal to the judge’s ruling had been filed, with LaRose listed as a respondent.

It was not clear late Monday what would happen to early votes already cast or if the state would tabulate any results Tuesday.

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